A coastal Ecuadorian dish usually served with sliced avocados or fried plantains and cold drinks
This dish has been prepared for generations on both sides of my family. My maternal grandmother, Angeles Montesdeoca Cordero, loved seafood and learned to make it during the many summers she spent at her uncle’s house in Manabí, Ecuador. My mother, Laly Paredes, cooked this dish regularly for my siblings and me growing up in Cuenca. I am just learning to cook and perfect it myself so that one day my daughter, Eva Kay, can share it with her own kids. That’s tradition!
- 1 kg raw shrimps, shelled and deveined. (Set aside the heads for homemade shrimp broth.)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth or shrimp stock (or 1.5 cups of each)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 red onion, thinly diced
- 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tsp achiote (achuete or annatto)
- ½ cup white wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- Marinate the shrimps with salt, pepper, mustard, 1 tsp cumin, and half of the minced garlic. Let this rest for an hour.
- Bring water to boil in a large pot, add about 7 shrimp heads, and boil for 7 minutes.
- Remove the shrimp heads from the water and reserve 3 cups of the water they cooked in to prepare the rice.
- If you lack time, you could skip this step and cook the rice with 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth.
- Heat the oil in a large pot and add the remainder of the minced garlic. Cook for 2–3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the rice to the garlic and oil. Mix until the rice is coated with oil and the color turns off-white (5–10 minutes).
- Add the 3 cups of chicken broth or shrimp stock to the rice, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low until the rice is cooked.
- Melt the butter and achiote over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of cumin. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the white wine to the vegetable mix and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the onions and the bell pepper are tender.
- Mix in marinated shrimps for about 3 minutes or until cooked. Make sure you don’t overcook the shrimps.
- Add the sautéed shrimps and vegetables to the cooked rice and mix well. Keep on low heat.
- Mix in cilantro.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with fried plantains or avocado slices.
Serves 6–8 persons. Enjoy!